January 16, 2008, - 1:52 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
As most of you know, I don’t really like any of the Presidential candidates too much. None is a true down the line conservative who also has a proven track record in opposing Islamofascism. As you also know, I like Giuliani the best because of his strong anti-terror stands and record. I don’t like his social agenda or his record on and flip-flopping vis-a-vis immigration and amnesty for illegal aliens, but I’m willing to look the other way on those (because I believe and hope that he won’t push amnesty and will get tough on border security as Prez), if he picks up speed again after horrible campaign moves in neglecting Michigan and other early states.
That said, even though John McCain is not my candidate–and I’m troubled by many of his positions on issues, I’m disgusted by the actions of Vietnam Veterans Against McCain:
John McCain’s campaign blasted as “garbage” a mailing sent out by a small band of Vietnam veterans that accused the Arizona Republican of betraying fellow prisoners of war.
The two-page mailing, which began arriving in South Carolina mailboxes Monday, includes a cartoon showing McCain in POW garb, sitting in a prison cell. Scrolled on the cell wall are, among other things, “songbird” and “The POWs I helped leave behind.”
“These two pieces of paper are a collection of half truths and misinformation and simply done to try and destroy John McCain,” former POW Orson Swindle said Tuesday in a conference call with reporters that McCain’s campaign arranged.
Swindle is part of what the McCain campaign is calling its “Truth Squad” to debunk negative attacks against the GOP candidate in advance of the upcoming South Carolina primary. . . .
A group called Vietnam Veterans Against McCain, formed early last year by Garnerville, N.Y., resident Jerry Kiley, 61, distributed this week’s mailing. . . .
Among other things, Kiley’s group believes McCain gave away confidential information during his time as a POW, received preferential treatment from his captors and, since returning home, has turned his back on fellow POWs whom Kiley believes were left behind in Vietnam.
Swindle dismissed such notions as the ideas of a “a very few zealous conspiracy theory people.”
In 2004, Kiley led a similar effort against Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and even staged a protest at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
The anti-McCain mailing was sent to 80 newspaper editors in South Carolina, Kiley said.
I used to like John McCain a lot, when he really was a conservative, as an Arizona Congressman. (He “moderated” as a U.S. Senator.) At that time, I was in high school, and I met John McCain. If you’ve ever seen him in person, his arms hang in a weird way from his body. That’s because he was tortured by the VietCong for, among other things, refusing to attend an anti-U.S. Jane Fonda rally. His arms and legs were broken, and with no medical treatment in captivity, they never healed correctly. I’d love to know how that constitutes “preferential treatment” from the VietCong. It’s the exact opposite.
I do agree that full normalization with Vietnam should have included more stringent requirements for locating and releasing American POWs, something I don’t think McCain pressed enough.
Still, that these alleged Vietnam Veterans would defame McCain’s POW experience is nauseating. But the question is: Who is behind it? Are they Romney supporters? Or Fred Thompson supporters? It’s apparently one or the other. Defaming the troops is New York Times territory, not the action of any legitimate Republican would-be President.
It’s truly outrageous. Um, sorry, but John McCain is no John Kerry. He didn’t throw away his medals. He served with honor–even in amidst torture and risk to his life.
Tags: Arizona, Boston, congressman, Debbie Schlussel As, Fred Thompson, Garnerville, Jerry Kiley, John Kerry, John McCain, Michigan, New York, New York Times, Orson Swindle, Republican Party, Republican would-be President, S. Jane Fonda, Senator, South Carolina, United States, Vietnam